Professor Afolabi is a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation of Nigeria who retired from Service in September 2011. Prior to joining the Civil Service, he lectured at Obafemi Awolowo University, 1976-1990, Ladoke Akintola University, 1990-1991, and served as Visiting Lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. He had several post-doctoral exposures, including Howard University, Washington DC; several leadership training, notably at Harvard University, British Council, first responder training by United States Government; etc
While in the University system, his main areas of research included Nutritional Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry. He has to his credit over 100 publications in reputable international journals. He also served as a reviewer to many journals and external examiner to many Universities. While in the Civil Service, he played major roles in Environmental management, Education, Labor, Agriculture, Water Resources Management and Policies, among others. He led many Nigerian delegations to several United Nations International Conventions and Protocols, notably Climate Change Convention and Protocols, Ozone Layer Protection, Chemical Weapons, Chemicals Management, etc. He was Chairman of many ad-hoc committees of the UN, attending the UN General Assembly, many times and was elected as the Chairman, Multilateral Fund for the Montreal Protocol of the Ozone Depleting Substances; among several of such appointments.
Professor Afolabi served on many public and private sector Boards either as Member or Chairman. He has also been Chairman and Pro-Chancellor of two Universities in the past and presently on the Council of two Universities and on the Board of Trustees of one. He has conducted Visitation Panel assignments to Universities.
Professor Afolabi is a recipient of many awards (over 20) amongst which are Fellow, International Atomic Energy Agency, 1983; African Productivity Merit Award (2004): Marigold New Magazine, Vol.!., June 2004; Distinguished Earthcare Award 2004: Global Environment Outlook; Outstanding Contributors Award (2007): United Nations Environment Programme, Montreal Protocol; Fellow (2007): Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria(FICON).
He has been conferred with the National Honour of Officer of the Niger (OON) 2009, National Honour of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) 2010/2011. His traditional titles include Are Bobajiro of Gbagura; Fimotolu of Egba Land and Otun Asiwaju of Ibadan Land.